Below is an excerpt and update from the very brave Doctor Edward Picardi from Rapid City, South Dakota. Dr. Picardi below shares an excerpt and a video from his recent trip where he is volunteering to save lives and make a difference in a part of the world that is often neglected by the rest of the world.
“Two weeks have already sped by while in Liberia. It is truly phenomenal what I have seen here in just two weeks.
Cancer is still the most common pathology that I see as a surgeon and obviously trauma. Most Cancers are extremely advanced and there is little chance for chemotherapy. Even rather young patients I have seen with advanced pancreatic and breast cancers.
An interesting patient is a neonate who has tetanus. I have never seen a real case of tetanus before. I doubt many doctors in the USA have ever seen active tetanus. The rigidity is worsened whenever the baby is startled so the baby is being kept in a dimly lit room and visitors are kept to a minimum.
It is often difficult to find gauze or tape to replace dressings and the amount and type of sutures material is quite low so they adapt with what they have. I and another surgeon here change the dressings on all the wounds ourselves each day to be sure they are changed in a logical fashion.
Pure, raw honey is still a great agent for open wounds, but I have not been using it because I sometimes see rodents scurrying around on the floors under the beds and rodents are the vectors for Lassa Fever which is in the same family as Ebola. We know there are now Lassa Fever victims in town here. We have Clorox bleach here so we mix up our own Dakin’s solution.
The patients and family are very appreciative. Prayers are very important here and each day begins in the chapel. I wish there was more that we could do.
As we are just outside of the Capitol of Liberia, even though electricity is sporadic the ubiquitous smartphones are here. I am not wise enough to know if that is good or bad. With so little money it is a shame they waste it on these things. That is simply less for food, etc.
I am attempting to include a 2-minute video from the chapel if I can get the file to go through. I think that would be nicer than some of the other photos which I have been taking. Note that they are singing in English.
We are keeping an eye on the outbreak of Ebola in the Congo. The incubation period is 3 weeks so people infected can infect others without knowing they were infected. The authorities are looking for anyone who went to a funeral of a victim. The big fear if the infection travels down the Congo River which could result in huge number of infected.
Thanks for all your love and support. For those wonderful friends who helped finance these trips your funds are being put to great use.
Cordially, your friend and colleague,
Ed Picardi, MD”
For more information about Dr. Picardi see the following interviews and editorials: